2020 Draft Target: Burl Carraway

Carraway is one of the top relievers in the country throwing gas and spinning curves that make hitters have nightmares.  The Horned Frog is a herky jerky left-handed reliever with a huge fastball and some control problems.  He is exactly the kind of guy you don’t want to dig into the batter’s box to face.  Especially if you are a left-handed hitter.

Carraway throws exclusively out of the stretch starting in a closed stance.  When he lifts his leg, he doesn’t relax his foot giving a little bit of a different look.  He also turns away from the catcher showing almost his entire back to the hitter hiding the ball for an extraordinarily amount of time.  At that point, he whips around with a high three-quarter delivery.  His body falls off the mound hard to the third base side.  Combine the herk and jerk while hiding the ball for so long and Carraway is an uncomfortable at bat for a lot of guys.  

Carraway throws a fastball that works 92 to 96 while occasionally touching higher velocities like the 100 mph fastball he threw against Texas-Arlington earlier this spring.  The ball seems to explode out of his hand because a hitter doesn’t have a visual of his arm until the last second.  Topping it off, Carraway hasn’t had the best control leaving pitches all over the place including  head high levels and the painful fastball three feet short of the plate.  If you just picture Randy Johnson throwing a pitch over John Kruk’s head before destroying him with three straight sliders, you have an idea of how a hitter will feel standing in the box against Carraway.  Another visual that came to mind when I was watching Carraway pitch was Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn from Major League.  The rpm rate on his fastball is between 2400 and 2500.  

Carraway possesses a tremendous curve.  The pitch has incredible 1-7 movement from the catcher’s perspective.  The curve can move so far from left to right that it has even the best hitters tied in knots.  Carraway can also manipulate the pitch to have more of a 12-6 movement.   The pitch is consistently between 2600 and 2700 rpm.  

Carraway was able to have a conversation with Clayton Kershaw this fall.  D1 Baseball writer Aaron Fitt wrote an article in February 2020 about Carraway and his Kershaw connection.  When you take a look at the Trackman data, their stuff almost mirrors each other.  Because of this, Carraway sought out Kershaw at an event and started asking him questions about pitches.  Kershaw suggested a slider to help Carraway with his control.  Carraway was able to pick it up immediately.  Carraway’s slider sits 85-88 and continues to have impressive movement.  

As a sophomore, Carraway struck out three times as many hitters as actually recorded a hit.  This spring, that number is closer to four to one.  

Carraway pitched for the USA National Collegiate team and had a strong summer.  He has taken his abilities to the next level this spring and is probably the best relief pitcher in the country.  A team that drafts Carraway could probably just move him to their major league bullpen and have an impactful piece immediately paying dividends.  It would make sense for a team to try this strategy and essentially get a free left-handed reliever who can get out both right and left-handed hitters if they are in the playoff race.  There is risk with Carraway.  College relievers don’t always work out and Carraway has shown a propensity to walk a few batters here and there.  Carraway is a risky pick but could immediately reward the team that calls his name in June.  

Carraway probably isn’t someone the Royals look to take unless they think they can be competitive sooner rather than later.  With the current group of position players and the younger pitchers about to move up, they just might be competitive sooner rather than later.  To me, a team wanting to win now drafts Carraway before the Royals pick in the fourth round.  He is a guy that doesn’t need to stay down long and might be a low-risk high-reward payoff for a contender in the third.  He can pay immediate dividends and help a team in a playoff run, especially if say, MLB gives you a 35-man roster or something like that for a while.

The other way to look at is if a team wants to go below slot and cut a deal to take him higher.  The Royals 106th selection holds a value of $818,200.  If Carraway is willing to sign for $200,000, he would save the Royals $600,000 to give to someone else that dropped.  There are a lot of ways to play this, but if he is still there when the Royals pick at 105 or 135, he should be considered.

With only a week until draft day, make sure you check out the other names we’ve looked at in the 2020 MLB Draft Profile library!

Image from the Dallas Morning News and provided by the TCU Athletics department.

One thought on “2020 Draft Target: Burl Carraway

  1. Pingback: 2020 Draft Profile Library | Royals Farm Report

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